Ladies and gentlemen, what a day it was. Perhaps it was the late night from the night before, with NZ winning that huge tally of medals and the mighty All Blacks beating the hapless Springboks into submission. Or it might have been the fact that it was another typical Auckland day - i.e. the skies were well and truly 'opened up' and it seemed like it was still night time at 10am in the morning. The Committee members were all gathered in the Sacred Heart College Chapel in which we were to have our Launch Mass. We exchanged nervous glances at each other as the Chapel was, well, empty!! Did we publicise the event enough? Did we put the wrong date in the notice? Or was it just 'Fiji time'?
Slowly, our fellow MOBs and their families trickled in, and the trickle turned into a torrent. Phew, now we had enough people to fill the front row of the Chapel. And on and on they came, until we had a very decent gathering. Thankfully, our prayers were answered and, true to form, our brothers had heeded the call of the Marist Spirit.
Fr John led us with a beautiful Mass complemented by wonderful readings and prayers from the special ministers and Choir. Paul Elliott weaved his magic on the keyboard and it brought back memories of Marist Rock. There were a number of Marist Brothers present amongst us, and the congregation sang beautifully. The final song, "Marist Song (Marisi e macala)", written by Filipe Tuima just before he was taken away from us so tragically, brought tears to many eyes and tingles down many spines.
And perhaps, most importantly, any doubts that the Committee had were well and truly erased - the Marist Spirit is alive and well in Aotearoa!
After Mass, we all retired to the function room below the Chapel for the festivities. And still they kept coming, Many, many more that couldn't make it to Mass turned up for the food .. I mean …. the festivities. The sevusevu was performed with the solemnity and respect that befits such an occasion and it was obvious that our Guest of Honour, Br Clarent, and everyone present was moved by it.
There were speeches (Br Clarent reminisced about his many hours of enjoyment in the Physics lab which elicited much nervous laughter from the audience), dancing, and of course, eating. And lots of it. But the highlight was the catching up with school mates from MBHS days, some of whom I hadn’t seen since leaving MBHS. And we picked up where we left off those many years ago. It would have seemed like just another day at school if not for the extra wrinkles, grey hair, and ‘family pack’ above the waist.And all said and done, it was truly wonderful to discover that the Marist Spirit is well and truly alive in New Zealand. We look forward to sharing many more gatherings like this in the future.